An Italian Affair: While Michael is in Italy, James Beard Award-Winning Chef Jeffrey Michaud Shares His Osteria Pizzeria Menu!

51regm4Rl1L._SY300_It’s simple really. Bring coconut milk to a boil. Add it to a bowl of flour, sugar, and egg yolks that have been whisked to combine, being sure to temper the egg mixture by slowly — piano piano — adding and stirring in the hot coconut milk. Add the mixture back into the pot and cook to thicken, whisking constantly for 15-20 minutes to prevent scrambling the eggs on the bottom of the pan. Then pour into a shallow foil-lined pan, smooth the top, and let cool slightly. Press plastic onto the top, and then refrigerate until it sets up enough to be cut into squares like soft fudge, at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. Get your frier ready and coat squares of the delicious coconut custard first in flour, then egg, and last, breadcrumbs. Deep fry, and enjoy with passionfruit curd.

A simple labor of love. This is la dolce vita of chef Jeffrey Michaud.  The decadence of custard-on-custard in his “Latte Fritto” (fried milk) is just one of the traditional Italian delights made his own inside the pages of Eating Italy: A Chef’s Culinary Adventure (Running Press,) his forthcoming cookbook now available for pre-sale and released nationwide this fall.  Lucky us. We are getting a preview of the recipes in dishes at Osteria Pizzeria at Harry’s on June 18.

Chef is in Bernalda, on a culinary adventure of his own through the south of Italy. Here from his Instagram, Marisella makes ruccoli, a pasta similar to cavatelli.

Michael is in Bernalda on a culinary adventure of his own, teaching cooking classes and exploring the south of Italy with his wife Tamara and friends. Taken from his Instragram, here ruccoli is made, a pasta similar to cavatelli.

“I want to be Jeff Michaud. I knew this, and now I know why,” said Michael of Eating Italy. “This book captures Jeff’s spirit, passion and simple perspective to a complex and deep rooted cuisine and culture. It makes you want to cook. It makes you want to be Italian!”

Indeed. Luxurious but always humble and made with heart, Jeff’s food speaks of his love affair with Italy, its indelible influence on his life and his cooking, with an intensity that no words need be uttered to feel it.  His menu for Osteria Pizzeria, which he described on a conference call yesterday with TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron and Harry’s Pizzeria chef de cuisine Manny Sulbaran, is easily its purist expression.

In keeping with the Slow Food philosophy originated in the mother country, Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed will soon start bottling Jeff’s mother-in-law Pina’s Limoncello.  A recipe also found in the cookbook, this sweet, bright beverage will mature for two weeks before it becomes your take-home gift.  We suggest savoring it sip by sip, perhaps on the beach in the heady days of summer, like Pina would have you enjoy it, and we imagine, just like Michael is enjoying it right now in the heel of the boot.

Although the south is the opposite end of the country from Bergamo, where Jeff met his future wife Claudia in 2004, on one of his early trips with chef godfather Marc Vetri, the lifestyle is the same. Sweet.  Piano Piano.

Jeff had me at “Latte Fritto,” but his menu is so much more that this sweet beginning to our tale.  We hope these zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and tuna make an appearance. Our fingers are crossed we can find them locally by the time the dinner rolls around.  Like we always say, this chef pop-up dinner is going to be the best, so I’ll do it again! Here is the link to purchase tickets to be there, where you will also find the just finalized full menu. Buon appetito and see you there!

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